Jennifer Schonberger, AKA Jennifer Alexis, is a name you should know. We’re pretty sure this journalist / musical artist has a big future ahead of her in the pop music industry. Get to know Jennifer, how she got her start as a musician, her writing process, and her passion for pursuing dreams. And for some added fun, maybe turn on one of her songs while your read the interview. Just an idea.
Jennifer: I am a true Washingtonian. I grew up in Springfield, VA—and in high school I interned at The Smithsonian and was a US Senate Page. I went to college and studied finance at UVA, and then moved back to the DC area after graduation to become a financial journalist. I live in NoVA now.
Jennifer: I love finance, business strategy, and markets–and always wanted to be a journalist. So, I decided to combine both interests. I love intertwining business and finance knowledge with what’s going on in Washington; interviewing experts at the top of their fields in varying subject areas, learning from them and sharing that information with the public. It is a true privilege to get up every day and be able to talk to some of the smartest people in the world and gather stories that better inform people.
Jennifer: I started taking piano lessons in third grade and have been singing on and off my entire life. Several years ago, I started writing music out of stress. I was having trouble in the dating game, I was facing barriers in my career. I felt frustrated, lonely and had a lot of excess energy that made me feel out of control, so writing music was a way for me to channel that and make sense of the world.
Writing music is a way to share my feelings and stories, and to connect with other people through those stories. My music is in the pop genre, and my most recent song, “Summer Dreaming”, is the 6th single I’ve released. I wrote it this past winter when I was cold, inside, and dreaming about summer and a COVID crush I had in California. The song is about longing for summer and summer love, it’s a light, fun song—and I hope people can rock out to it in the car or at the pool this summer.
As an artist I stand for pursuing dreams. If a dream is in your heart, it’s in your heart for a reason. I see pursuing a dream as a gift you give yourself. I also view my music as a personal growth process. I’ve gone through hardship in life, and grown stronger and continued to move forward. That’s a message I like to send with my music.
Jennifer: I love Michael Jackson, his beats are great. I identify with Taylor Swift as a songwriter, she too likes to tell stories through her music. Growing up, I was a big Britney Spears fan. I love the pop from the 90s, and also get inspiration from the oldies. My some “Summer Dreaming” I see as pop-meets-Beach Boys.
Jennifer: Most people start writing chords, but I write the lyrics first. To me, the story is the most important part. After I write the lyrics, I write the music notes. Typically, the melody will come to me when I have the music in place and at that point I have a better understanding of the soul of the song and can bring the proper tenor to life from there. I tend to write out of a lot of emotion. Lately, I’ve been getting over a breakup so the juices are very flowing.
Jennifer: I’d love to see my music become my main career. I love journalism, but music is a new, fresher passion and a way to connect with people on a more personal level. Ideally, my music goes mainstream and then I’d have a platform that I could use to better educate young people about investing in finance so they can create a more secure financial future for themselves. I think when you achieve a high level of success you need to give back and use your platform for good.
Jennifer: It would be a Saturday, and I would have a big group lunch at Le Diplomate with lots of friends, and then I’d visit The National Gallery of Art. Then, I’d do something outside–maybe take a boat ride in Old Town Alexandria. At night, I’d go to The Wharf for dinner and hang out there with friends. Going to The Wharf is the closest you can be to being at a beach in DC.
I have a song called “Saturday” I wrote a couple years ago on New Year’s Eve, which fell on a Saturday that year. I’d had a long work week filling in for my boss. I woke up that Saturday and felt like finally, I could sleep in, let loose and nothing mattered. That’s what Saturdays should feel like—and that’s what the song is about.
Jennifer: I love to sing, but also relationships are important to me. People are the substance of life. I love meeting new people and being with people I share close connections with, that brings me joy.
Jennifer: First would be my dad: He passed away last year and I’d give anything to have him back and hear his opinions. He was definitely a guiding light in my life. Then, Eleanor Roosevelt. She definitely kicked in doors and emulated girl power. She wanted to have a press conference, talk to reporters, and push policies forward and she did it all. And of course Martin Luther King, Jr—he would be such a fascinating person to talk to. If I was going to invite a living person, I’d say Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde, the former head of the IMF and Finance Minister of France. She is a fascinating, worldly individual with very interesting views on the global economy and market.
Jennifer: They have a great time chatting, letting loose, and listening to music!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.